Why Eat Just One Style of Barbecue When They’re ALL Delicious?

Treat your taste buds to a variety of barbecue styles that are as distinct as the regions they originated from.

The Birth of Barbecue

Ask any barbecue aficionado about regional barbecue styles and he or she will more than likely mention Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas barbecue styles. Barbecue was born during colonial times in the southeastern region of the United States, where pigs were a staple of American culture and where barbecue was served at public and political celebrations in the South and Midwest.

Carolina Barbecue

Did you know that Carolina barbecue is one of the oldest styles of American barbecue? In North Carolina you’ll find chopped, pulled, and shredded pork with vinegar-based sauces (some with tomato), while in South Carolina you’ll find pork with a variety of sauces, such as ketchup-based sauces, mustard-vinegar sauces, and other sauces that use a variety of sugars, pepper, and spices. Try this Classic Eastern North Carolina Barbecue from Food52.

Kansas City Barbecue

Kansas City is known as the world’s barbecue capital because of the many influences from other major barbecue regions. Meats (including beef, chicken, pork, turkey, and more) are mostly slow-smoked but sometimes grilled, then slathered with a tomato-molasses sauce. Sauces are everything in Kansas City and include a variety of sweet, spicy, and tangy tomato-based sauces. If you’re familiar with Kansas City barbecue, you probably know all about tasty burnt ends—the trimmed pointy pieces of meat cut from the ends of smoked beef brisket, which have become a Kansas City specialty. If you like your ribs coated with a thick, sweet, and tangy barbecue sauce, you’ll want to make I Heart Eating’s Homemade Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce.

Memphis Barbecue

In Memphis, Tennessee you’ll find ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ ribs, as well as pork sandwiches that include chopped pork served on a bun and topped with sauce and coleslaw. ‘Dry’ and ‘wet’ refer to the preparation. Dry ribs are ribs that are seasoned with a dry rub of spices and seasonings, while wet ribs are ribs that are brushed with sauce before, during, and after cooking. Here is a Memphis-Style Ribs recipe from epicurious for dry ribs from Steven Raichlen’s The Barbecue! Bible 10th Anniversary Edition.

Texas Barbecue

In Texas, you’ll find four styles of barbecue: South Texas, East Texas, West Texas, and Central Texas. But the barbecue styles hailing from East Texas and Central Texas are the most popular. East Texas barbecue consists of chopped brisket or pork served in a sandwich with a generous amount of hot sauce, and in Central Texas, you’ll find plates piled with brisket and ribs and sausage that have been smoked over oak or pecan wood. Here, sauces are side notes because meat is everything. Learn more interesting tidbits about Texas barbecue in NPR’s Deep In The Heart of Texas Barbecue. You’ll also find recipes for Real Texas Barbecue, Real Texas Barbecue Sauce, Texas-Style Beans, and Texas Sheet Cake!